Presentation on theme: "PRESENTER: DR. ARSHI SHAIKH RENISON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE- UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO PUBLIC HEALTH 2014-CANADIAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE CO-AUTHORS."— Presentation transcript:
PRESENTER: DR. ARSHI SHAIKH RENISON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE- UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO PUBLIC HEALTH 2014-CANADIAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE CO-AUTHORS DR. CAROL KAUPPI HIREN RAWAL, MSW, RSW Health issues among homeless families in Timmins-A northern community
Introduction There is a growing presence of families with dependent children among the homeless population. In January 2011, Poverty, Homelessness and Migration, a community-university research alliance conducted a period prevalence count of homeless persons in Timmins in collaboration with community partners.
Introduction (cont’d) The results indicated that there were 720 persons facing absolute homelessness or near homelessness (e.g., pending eviction, substandard housing) at the time of study. The families constituted two-thirds of those who were absolutely homeless in Timmins, a city situated in Northeastern Ontario.
Research Objectives To understand the nature, prevalence and circumstances surrounding family homelessness in Timmins. To examine the health challenges faced by homeless families in Timmins.
Definition of a Homeless Family One or more homeless persons with at least one dependent child. The person could be a biological parent, a grandparent, a non-biological parent, a foster parent or a guardian. Homeless persons under the age of majority with at least one child were also included in the study.
Methods A six-phase, multi-method research design. Results emerging from the following phases are included in this presentation. Phase II: Quantitative analysis of period prevalence data (comparison communities) Phases IV & V: Interviews and focus groups with homeless parents/guardians
Results A profile of family homelessness in Timmins. Health problems among homeless families in Timmins and comparison communities (i.e., Sudbury, North Bay, and Hearst). Emotional impact on parents or guardians. Emotional impact on children.
Profile of Homeless Families in Timmins A majority of homeless parents or guardians were women (81%). Ethnic groups Anglophones (42%) Francophone (19%) Indigenous (36%) The age range was between 16 and 83 years (mean 37 years).
Profile of Homeless Families in Timmins (cont’d) One fourth of the parents or guardians reported being single and over one-fourth were separated, divorced or widowed. The most common family size was two children. The major sources of income included Ontario Disabilities Support Program Employment Ontario Works WSIB benefits
Physical Health Issues Timmins (%) Sudbury-North Bay-Hearst (%) Back problems2722 Knee problems103 Diabetes173 Heart problems713 Arthritis711
Emotional Impact on Parents or Guardians Sadness or depression Shame and embarrassment Isolation and loneliness Helplessness Hopelessness Loss of motivation Felt vulnerable and misunderstood
Personal Narrative Mona, an Indigenous woman stated It does affect me emotionally, a lot. Because, just not having my own place….and….just being stressed out, especially with kids. Many parents expressed the view that their mental and physical health issues could be addressed if they were able to obtain suitable housing.
Emotional Impact on Children Family separation: children were temporarily staying with other family members or in care with the child welfare authorities. Parents expressed deep concerns about the impact of homelessness and separation on the mental health and well-being of their children. Stress, anger, frustration, sadness, insecurity and crying among children.
Conclusion The study indicated that Anglophone, Francophone and Indigenous homeless families experienced a range of physical and mental health challenges. The results reinforce prior findings regarding the significance of housing as a social determinant of health 1,2.
Implications for Health Promotion Practices Acquire deeper understanding regarding the impact of homelessness and associated issues (e.g., separation of parents and children) on the health of all family members. Design interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral health promotion activities. Focus upon psychosocial needs along with physical health needs. Engage and involve homeless families in each stage of health promotion activities.
References 1. Weinred, L.F., Buckner, J.C., Williams, V., & Nicolson, J. (2006). A comparison of the health and mental health status of mothers in Worcester, mass: 1993 and 2003. American Journal of Public Health, 96 (8), 1444-1448. 2. Coles, E., Themessl-Huber, M., & Freeman, R. (2012). Investigating community-based health and health promotion for homeless people: a mixed method review. Health Education Research, 27 (4), 624-644.
Acknowledgements This study was funded by the Homelessness Partnering Strategy Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Contribution of Homeless parents and guardians Service providers and community members in Timmins Faculty members and students with Poverty, Homelessness and Migration-SSHRC CURA